A human diet is made up of a variety of foods. We consume different ingredients during the day and week. Our pets should also. We feed dogs the same food everyday throughout their lives (Brown and Taylor, n.d.). Dr. Ackerman, a canine dermatologist, wrote that dogs given the same food repeatedly can develop allergies (as cited in Brown and Taylor, n.d.). A variety of food is an essential part of a raw food diet and will provide a wide range of nutrients (Olsen, 2010). A balanced diet need only to be achieved through a series of meals as their counterparts in the wild (Billinghurst, 1993). Even humans obtain a balanced diet over a period of time and not at one sitting. All animals store nutrients, such as fat and proteins, as well as, vitamins to be needed if there is a shortage (Kuehn, 2007). Proteins contain essential amino acids, fats contain essential fatty acids. Both are necessary in the diet to meet energy needs (Case et al., 2011).
Carbohydrates are different and don’t contain any essential ingredient. There is no such thing as an essential carbohydrate. Even though carbs contain glucose and dogs need glucose, it can be provided by amino acids through gluconeogenesis. Balance, in a diet, is a vague concept thought up by humans and pet food companies to encourage people to buy their food (Kuehn, 2007). A raw food diet consists of all the vitamins and minerals in their natural form, thousands of different enzymes, and a full range of antioxidants. Studies have shown that nutrients from whole fresh food protects against many illnesses while the same nutrients in pill form show no more effectiveness than the placebos. Enzymes regulate most biological processes that are chemical reactions in the body. They catalyze all cell metabolisms including digestion. The cooking of food forces the stomach, pancreas, and small intestine to produce these digestive enzymes that naturally come from raw food (Brown and Taylor, n.d.).
Benefit of feeding a raw diet
The key to the benefits of a raw food diet is “life energy”. Food that is whole, fresh, and uncooked helps the body fend off aging, improve cell oxygenation, metabolism, and renewal, helps fight off diseases, and are easily digested (Pitcairn and Pitcairn, 1982). Fecal volume is 1/5 that from dogs on dry kibble. The faeces doesn’t stink and will turn white and powdery and disappear. Dogs have clean, healthy white teeth and have no need for cleanings by a veterinarian. Obesity is non-existent with weight being easily controlled (Lonsdale, 2001). Energy levels are higher. Coats are silky, healthy, and shiny (Lee, 2012). Raw food contains 75-80% water, which is vital for proper digestion and could possibly decrease the risk of bloat and calcium oxalate bladder stones (Brown and Taylor, n.d.). There are different types of raw food diets. Raw meaty bones, known as the prey model diet and is closest to a wolves diet, BARF diet is similar with the addition of vegetables and fruits, homemade cooked diets, and dehydrated raw diets (Wildwater, n.d.).
Make-up of a raw diet
To achieve a complete and balanced SARF diet for a dog, can be relatively simple, particularly when feeding a minced version.
By ensuring the minces generally consist of around 80% meat 10% bone 10% offal, you are providing a balanced meal. To then ensure you provide a complete SARF diet for dogs, you need to make sure you feed them between 5-7 different protein sources. Each protein source delivers something different nutritionally allowing the diet to become complete and ultimately provide a strong and healthy immune system.
If you prefer to DIY or find your dog eats better with chunks, again ensure a good mixture of varying raw meats are fed – chicken, beef, turkey, fish, lamb, rabbit, goat etc at around 80% this can include heart and tripe.
You will then have to look at the offal content, which should be worked out at 10% .Offal being anything that secretes, including – liver, spleen, kidney, testes, pancreas etc, please bear in mind that 5% of the offal being fed should be liver.
Raw bone – All bone, included with the muscle meat, remember the bone content should be around 10%. If there is muscle meat attached, this should be taken into account when working out the 80-10-10 balance. This excludes weight bearing bones, these are dense and much thicker, they are not a consumable bone.
Feeding raw vegetables is your personal preference, Some people do like to add, asparagus, broccoli, celery, lettuce, kale, squash, carrots, green beans etc although not advocated by us for many scientific and species appropriate reasons. This information can be found here